While in Madrid, Michael and I picked one activity each. Michael picked the Real Madrid Stadium (of course) and I picked a night tapas tour! I read amazing reviews of a night Tapas tour with this guy named Andres so we decided to try it out. It was pretty expensive (60 Euro’s each) but well worth it!!!!!
We first started out in Plaza Villa (not to be confused with Plaza Mayor which is the main square in Madrid). I first thought we met here in order to be away from the crowds, however Andres proceeded to tell us that this was the original main square of Madrid. The original town hall was located here alongside a prison. The square has contrasting styles as the buildings were built in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Next to the Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) there is a 16th century castle and next to this is one of the oldest buildings in Madrid built in the 15th century.
There was one other lady on our tour from Ireland, this was a smaller group than normal which meant MORE FOOD for us!!! It was evident that Andres was interested in Madrid’s past as he brought up images of what Madrid used to look like back in the day. He also showed us one of the first maps ever made of Madrid and showed us exactly where we were standing. At some points, we would have been standing either next to or on top of the old Roman walls. Nowadays, these laneways are full of cute little cafes, bars and restaurants. Judging from the people in the each location, we were in the local eateries and were lucky enough to step out of the touristy areas.
Our 1st stop was a quaint bar where they are well known for their vermouth. This is a traditional drink and supposedly has medicinal aspects to it. One drink of this was a great way to start off the night! If we weren’t talking much, we were now!!! The vermouth comes out of little spouts and has been doing so for years. Right across the street from this cute little bar is the OLDEST RESTAURANT in the WORLD!!! It wasn’t yet open for dinner (8:30pm) when we passed by, however there were plenty of tourists hanging out attempting to get a table. Andres told us that there are actually tunnels underneath the restaurant which goes all the way to the outside of the city.
Our 2nd stop was another local restaurant called La Traviesa. A table was set up for us and we were first provided tuna empanadas. Madrid loves their seafood (even though they are land-locked) and has the 2nd largest fish market in the world after Japan. We then were provided Iberico ham and cheese and little cooked pork pieces. Since Andres runs these tours regularly, he holds nice bottles of liquor at each restaurant instead of ordering individual drinks. This was a great touch as he free poured our beverages throughout the night. With the tapas, we were able to try two different types of sherry. At this point I knew I was drunk. I was busy chatting to the Irish lady and actually asked “What do you call people from Ireland? Is it Irelanders?” haha She proceeded to tell me “Do you mean Irish?” I felt so stupid and knew that it was the alcohol talking at this point!!! Right before we were about to leave this restaurant, Andres noticed that one of the chefs was cutting off ham fresh off of the “special acorn fed pigs”. His eyes grew with excitement and he said “Guys, we have to try this, this is a great one as it is really juicy”. We managed to try this high-grade ham which just melted in our mouths. So yummy!
Our 3rd stop was a local bar with a small restaurant in the back. We ate like the locals and stood at a high-top counter while enjoying a traditional Spanish tapa, the Tortilla. This was the BEST tortilla I had tasted to date. There are only 4 ingredients in the Spanish Tortilla, olive oil, eggs, potatoes and onions. This tortilla was to die for as it tasted like there was gooey cheese in it, but Andres promised this was not the case. If prepared properly, the tortilla shouldn’t be dry. We devoured the tortilla between the 4 of us along with a nice glass of wine.
We then headed to our 4th stop. I am not going to lie, by this point everyone was so tipsy and I kind of forgot all of the historical bits and pieces that Andres pointed out to us. We headed to a trendy cafe at the top of a hill which had a good view. Again Andres was prepared and reserved a table in the back for us. Andres got his bottle of sherry and filled our glasses consistently throughout the night. We had no idea that we were about to eat some of the BEST tapas ever! We started with chicken croquettes which was easily my favourite. It was so creamy and packed of flavour! Andre then ordered pork, however this wasn’t just any type of pork as it is a tender piece of meat right next to the shoulder blade of the pig. The pork was served rare with only salt used as seasoning. Since the plate was still very hot, Andres decided to cook it a bit more and then we were off to try it. It was very juicy, tender and flavourful. Andres explained that because it is such a great piece of meat, seasoning is not needed. The next dish that came out was a bit spicy for me, but again absolutely delicious, octopus!!! I liked it so much I even ate the bits with the tentacles. We were very impressed with the high quality of tapas served here and so happy that we got to try so many of them.
The night did not end here! Andres then said the magical words “Are you guys hungry for ice cream?!?!!?” My eyes lit up and a huge smile on my face appeared. There is always room for Ice Cream!!! A few moments later a bowl of ice cream arrived to the table with 4 shot glasses. We all looked at each other a bit confused. Andres then proceeded to put a little bit of ice cream in each of the shot glasses and topped it with a typical type of alcohol in Spain. Within a few seconds, the 4 of us were doing ice cream shots! It was such a great way to have dessert and to continue drinking at the same time.
A few ice cream shots later, I was officially full. Andres really knew how to run a tapas tour as we learned a bit about the history but most importantly about the food and drinks typical in Spain. Salute from Madrid!!!